Childhood should be simple — not stinky. Body odor, or axillary odor as it’s sometimes called, can be a telltale sign of puberty, and usually affects girls older than eight and boys older than nine. For kids with central precocious puberty (CPP), body odor can happen earlier.
If your little one has begun to exhibit B.O., consider taking these steps to handle the issue proactively and with minimal embarrassment.
I first suspected my five-year-old son had CPP when he started to smell like a teenager. That’s when I scheduled a visit with his pediatrician.
See your pediatrician right away
Your child’s pediatrician can check for other signs of central precocious puberty like growth acceleration, pubic hair, menstruation, and testes or breast bud development. They can also refer you to a pediatric endocrinologist if they suspect CPP. If and when your child is prescribed CPP treatment, body odor should start to dissipate after about three weeks.
Understand what’s happening in your child’s body
As hormones change, specialized sweat glands under your kiddo’s arms secrete oil — feeding the bacteria that dwell there. You’ve likely experienced this same pubertal symptom, your child is just going through it earlier than usual.
Talk to your child with sensitivity
Body odor happens to everyone, but it’s still a touchy subject for most. To avoid stigmatizing B.O., try not to refer to your kiddo’s new scent in negative terms. Explain that they’re starting to smell a little different than before (they very well might not notice!), which could be a sign that they need to visit their doctor.
Instill new hygiene habits
Reduce childhood B.O. by encouraging daily or twice daily showers or baths with antibacterial soap and teaching your little one how to apply deodorant. If your child embarks on CPP treatment, they won’t need to keep up these practices long-term. For now, though, extra vigilant cleanliness can go a long way.
Remember, body odor is nothing to be ashamed of, and if your child does have CPP, their symptoms are readily treatable. With the help of a pediatric endocrinologist, your kid can get right back to being a kid.